Back in the day, ace photographer Nina Mommsen was into painted art. She tells Behnaz Sanjana how she found herself in the realm of captured reminiscence, and why she wants to live in it forever.
A terrific artist, soft-spoken Nina Mommsen dabbled in make-up and hair styling when she lived in Russia, over a decade ago. She says: “All my knowledge comes together to help me capture the most beautiful images. My photography is art; my pictures are like paintings. This is because I also spend a lot of time on post-production processes.” Little wonder, then, that she is fast becoming one of the most sought-after snappers on the island.
Her passion for photography has proved to be more gratifying than anything she’s done before. After a study course in photography from a university in New York, there has been no looking back. Nina has gone on to do wedding photography, family pictures, model portfolios, events and many commercial assignments for prestigious brands in Bahrain. Of the lot, she feels best capturing memories of weddings. “Each wedding is different, but I love to see so many emotions at play and be a part of it all. I feel happy to be chosen to capture this special time of people’s lives,” she says.
Nina also enjoys fashion photography and individual portfolios. “It’s not only about the clothes, but also the setting. I can create the ideal atmosphere for such shoots,” she says. Despite having a well-equipped studio, she is enthusiastic about outdoor photo shoots saying: “Bahrain has such beautiful locations that not many people know of. There are lakes and parks which make an ideal spot for perfect pictures. Many clients are unaware of and surprised by the beauty of certain places.”
Quizzed on her all-time favourite picture, she replies: “I have clicked so many pictures in all these years. Today I may feel that a particular one is my favourite, but tomorrow I’ll do another shoot and I’ll feel that my work is far better than yesterday’s; so, of course, I have a new favourite! Every day I learn and do something new in my work. I never stop discovering and trying new tricks and techniques in my profession.”
In the same way some people’s persona changes in front of the lens, Nina’s changes behind it. “When I’m shooting I’m completely focused, like in a movie. I’m not soft and easy-going, as I otherwise am. I’ll make sure that I get the look or effect that I want for my picture from my client. And they are always really happy afterwards,” she laughs.
Nina believes her work speaks about her. “My style is different from other photographers, maybe because I’m an artist. I spend a lot of time after the shoot, to give my pictures an artistic finish that is always appreciated,” she says.
Her warmth and flexibility in challenging situations puts the most apprehensive people at ease in front of the camera. She says: “Sometimes, things get difficult, like when little ones refuse to cooperate for a family photo. Or the groom is not up to posing for as many pictures as his bride wants to. It’s OK if it takes more time than I am scheduled for; the end result is most important to me. Being a lady photographer, I can easily make people feel more comfortable and pose for beautiful shots to cherish for life.”
Nina’s top tips for a pretty picture
- Get the composition right, with the subject and background in the right position so the whole image comes together.
- Have the lighting just right, whether it’s the sun and shadows by day or the lights and flashes at night – indoors or outdoors.
- Touch up images on software like Lightroom to make for a great final photograph.